What are vegan “meats”? Basically they’re plant-based foods usually made from wheat, soy, and/or pea protein that are meant to mimic the taste and textures of real meat. Tofu comes to mind for a lot of people, but most non-vegans don’t realize how much more there is, there’s literally a vegan version for ANY kind of meat you can think of.
I recently brought a friend of mine to a vegan Thai restaurant, he was surprised at the restaurant’s variety of vegan meat substitutes for the dishes, the vegan “pork” with the noodles and the vegan “shrimp” in the spring rolls. He thought we were gonna eat tofu all afternoon, how wrong he was. Meat substitutes have come a long way in the last 10 years, the number of vegans/vegetarians are rising, and thus the demand for these meat substitute products have increased. If you’re interested in trying these “fake meats,” in this post I will highlight the best vegan meat substitute products you can find on the market today.
The Best Vegan Meat Substitute Products
I’ve been vegan since mid 2012 and I believe these meat substitute products are what made it so easy to stick with it for so long. I never felt the way I was eating is restrictive, I found a vegan version of all the animal foods I used to eat. If you’re thinking of trying out the vegan diet, I believe these foods will give you that same satiation you feel from eating meat. I have personally tried products from all these brands, and I will start with my favorite…Gardein.
Hands down my favorite brand for meatless foods. I love Gardein, not only do they have a HUGE variety of comfort food products, they all taste damn good. Gardein creates a huge variety of vegan meat substitutes from soy, wheat, and pea proteins. Their products include Mandarin Orange Chick’n, Chick’n Tenders, Fishless Cakes, Porkless Pockets, Chick’n Sliders, Beefless Ground, Black Bean Burgers, BBQ Wings, Meatless Meatballs, Fishless Filets…. just to name a few! Everything is certified VEGAN, as well they are free of any cholesterol, saturated, and trans fat.
Tofurky is #2 on the list because their vegan sausages are my absolute favorite, especially the Italian with sun-dried tomatoes. You guessed it, their name is a portmanteau of “tofu” and “turkey.” Made from wheat gluten and organic tofu, their vegan Tofurky Roast is quite popular around the holidays, but they make a lot more than just turkey substitutes. Their line of vegan products include the aforementioned sausages and roast, as well as deli slices, veggie burgers, tofurky ground, slow roasted chick’n, hot pockets, and even pizza. You can probably find a few of these products at natural food places like Whole Foods Market, but if you can’t find them locally then it might be worth checking out online at places like Amazon.
3. Field Roast
Another great brand that creates terrific vegan sausages. The sausages come in 3 different flavors (Smoked Apple Sage, Mexican Chipotle, Italian) and are made with wholesome ingredients like fruits, vegetables, potatoes, seeds, and spices. They also have other vegan products include chao cheese slices, deli slices, and their “field roast” which is a faux roast turkey made from grains, vegetables, and spices.
4. Beyond Meat
Beyond meat is a Los Angeles based company that started around 2009. Their beef-free burgers are made with 23g of pea protein per serving, these burgers are GMO, soy, gluten, and cholesterol free. Their burgers are very popular among both vegans and meat eaters, in fact, their “Beyond Burger” came out in May 2016 and it’s actually sold alongside REAL meat products like beef, chicken, and fish! Some vegans get so paranoid they’re eating real meat, but rest assured, Beyond Meat is 100% plant-based. Beyond Meat products can be found in places like Whole Foods Market, if you can’t find it locally then it might be worth checking online at places like Amazon.
5. Sol Cuisine
Based in Toronto Canada, Sol Cuisine makes vegetarian, vegan, and halal meat substitute products. I often see their vegan burgers and sausage patties in the frozen food aisle where you’d find the burrito section. I’ve tried a few of their burger flavors before and the curry is my favorite. The flavors of their burgers are kind of mild imo and are better off eaten on their own instead of in between a burger bun, I like to cut them up into quarters and eat that with my veggies and rice. Their products are available in major supermarkets and natural food stores across Canada and the US. Alternatively if you can’t find them locally, you could try checking online at Amazon.
6. Light Life
Light Life is based in Massachusetts, it is an old company that has been operation since the late 70’s. They make vegan meat substitute products including sausages, hot dogs, bacon, jerky, and more. They use kosher and non-GMO soy ingredients, unfortunately their products are currently only available in the USA. But if you’re located outside the USA, you could still try their products by getting them online at places like Amazon.
7. Yves Veggie Cuisine
Yves Veggie Cuisine is a USA company that has been creating plant-based meat substitute products for over 20 years. I live in Canada and I often see their hot dogs, deli slices, veggie burgers, and other products in my local grocery stores. In the 5 years I’ve been vegan, I have eaten many of their products and I think their products are pretty solid. Their veggie tofu dogs are actually quite good, nowhere near as flavorful as Tofurky and Field Roast’s sausages, but their texture is very similar to real hot dogs. I also like their bologna slices. Their beef and chicken burgers aren’t my favorite, they’re just not very flavorful in my opinion, I prefer Gardein’s black bean burgers. Other Yves products include sausage patties, kale and quinoa bites, veggie ground, and more.
Where to Find These Products?
Vegan meat substitutes of some kind can usually be found in most supermarket these days. The brands I have just reviewed are the more famous and popular ones, and in my opinion are quite good. The bad thing is that although these product exists, you usually wouldn’t find a big selection of them in the typical supermarket. Unless you go to a big natural food supermarket chain like Whole Foods Market or Trader Joes, your vegan meat substitute selections are usually very limited.
A typical supermarket will have a small selection of vegan meat substitute products, but you may not find the brand or product you’re looking for. I often find 2-3 Gardein products in the supermarkets that carry the brand, but Gardein has well over 20+ different products, and so it’s disappointing not having access to the majority of Gardein’s variety. If this sounds like you my suggestion is to check multiple stores, usually each store will carry something different.
If you can’t find the product you’re looking for locally, it might be worth looking for it online if you really want it. On Amazon you can find many of these products, the only down side is that for a lot of these products are only sold in multiple packs, so you can’t just buy 1 of them at a time like you could at a supermarket…and yeah the shipping time is a pain. But if you have your eyes set on a particular product, then it might be worth it to buy online.
I hope my reviews of these vegan meat substitute products have given you a good idea of the abundance of good food available to us vegans, and if you’re willing to spend a little extra effort to find and purchase them, being vegan is not hard and after trying it for a few weeks you might not even want to go back to eating animal foods.
Have you tried any of these vegan meat substitute products? Share with the community below in the comment section. If you liked this post, please give it a like and share it with your friends on social media.